I'd like to reply to/expand on these cons for your consideration.
<-IMO all media players for Linux suck fat ones (WMP fan) (tried VLC, <Amarok, and some others too but I forget the names...).
I strongly suspect this affinity for WMP is just force of habit from long usage because the problems with WMP grow w/ every update which is just the opposite for *nix based players. With the sole exception of the newest .wmv format *nix players, and especially VLC which is available for multiple platforms and designed for streaming over networks (windows media player originated before Redmond got truly connected) *nix players are lighter weight and therefore faster and an easier environment upon which to learn something new if for no other reason than 1)little or no DRM issues, and less useless fluff to wade through, plus VLC plays more formats including for example Flash Video formats like those downloaded from YouTube and similar sites. Variations of MPlayer and Xine are also wothwhile video capable players with far more configurability and customization beyond mere skins. I don't wish to seem overly long on just video/media players but in this case because of the high likelihood of long term usage (habit) I hope to show at least there is a bonus or two as reward for sticking with it beyond foiling WMP's privacy invasion.
<-Lack of drivers for certain devices (had to get MadWifi installed, also my <lappy's powersaving features didn't work which is why switched back to Vista <- need the battery life)
Yes drivers can be an issue but that situation is getting better and knowledgeable purchasing (research) goes a long way. It is worthy of note that Windows wouldn't even allow CPU idling w/o a 3rd party app until Win2000/XP wheras CPU idling was in Linux almost from it's inception, and if we include Unix as it's source, a full decade before that. So while it takes either downloading a power saving kernel or "rolling yer own" it is do-able and to a degree more customizable than with doze. Plus if you learn to roll your own you are armed to truly optimize for speed and performance, small size, low latancy, whatever. Massive permutations possible.
<-I couldn't get background music in Battle for Wesnoth to work (fail) also, <some games were really glitchy on my lappy... I'll just blame Intel GMA, <since most work fine in my desktop with a 8500GT.
I'm Confused. Sound worked in general and only background didn't? Perhaps the background music is midi based and you don't have that configured? Wow! Yeah I'd bet unaccelerated video is real glitchy. Yeeechh!
<-Firefox crashed often when I was on youtube (alright, I said no crashes, <but at least it just went away rather than bringing on an "Illegal Operation" <and BSOD show)
This brings up a MAJOR advantage in the fundamental design of *nix over doze. Apps are essentially standalone in Linux so when an app crashes it doesn't bring down the whole OpSys. Windows puts all their eggs in one basket, which is why every application deposits some file(s) in the Windows folder and likely a few in Documents and Settings. Not only does this make the whole OpSys vulnerable but if you fresh install Windows, and even some "repair" installs, you have to reinstall most applications to get those files back in those other locations. One can backup one's $HOME directory, add it to a fresh install or theoretically any flavor of Linux and in many cases with nothing more than linking to the executable in a folder within $PATH have all your personal apps (that were installed from within $HOME) complete with personal configs all working. It's also a stroll in the park to put $HOME and even the "/usr" folder (where user application's executables are kept) on their own separate partitions making backup and restore easier, with also reduced vulnerability due to spreading the risk. Note: Backups, restores, reinstalls are obviously not simplistic so while I have simplified here for space, the bottom line is it is possible and routinely done in Linux and not at all in doze.
<-Repositories sometimes out-of-date, and I found installing software not in <the repos a huge pain in the backside
Most distros have forums which recommend user kept repositories as well as official sites at 2 or 3 levels of risk, where the bleeding edge is just a little behind subversion. Rsync can make keeping them updated a breeze.
<-Sometimes Ubuntu was actually slower, even though generally supposed to <perform faster than Windows (according to what I've been hearing) my <lappy sometimes choked, no, suffocated under Ubuntu...
Most serious operating systems set defaults to a low common denominator, for compatibility sake, which means they need tweaking if you have more modern hardware. It also means you CAN! There are lots of tuning tricks and as many webpages touting them. This is why ultra lightweight distros, even LiveCD's w/ the same or similar kernel version can run really fast, faster than anyother moderately mainstream OpSys out there and even on older hardware. Just try Puppy Linux LiveCD some time to see.
<-OpenOffice was kinda tiring to use (don't get me wrong, it's good, but some <tings just...argh)... prefer MS Office
I, too, take issue with OpenOffice but there are at least 2 or 3 other alternatives out there. Just as Foxit Reader in windows kicks Adobe's ass in performance with PDF's, different alternatives run and look differently. KOffice is much closer to MS Office if that's what you're hoping for, especially KWord.
-Lack of games & professional-level software (couldn't find a MS Publisher equivalent
also, lack of certain programming stuff I'd like)
While there actually are some games that run better on Linux than in windows, they are few and without Wine, VMWare, or Cedega or the like games are likely to continue to be a problem partly because game publishers are scared to death of Linux since it was created by hackers. They see little or no revenue from Linux users because the OpSys is rather pirate friendly, with very limited DRM and easy means to subvert and bypass what exists. Tradeoff? However MS Publisher (and I quote right from Wikipedia) IS ENTRY LEVEL publishing software. It is like kindergarten compared to college when you look at the tools available for Linux at little or no cost. While the real pro gear doesn't come packaged in as polished and even in some cases as easy to use as expensive stuff like DreamWeaver, ColdFusion, and the thousand dollar Adobe suites, nevertheless just as Apache is the number one server software (and Open Source) MySQL though maybe not number 1, is up in the top 5 for db software, and PHP along with Perl and Python are extremely professional and there are good gui front ends these days for web development like BlueFish and QuantaPlus (some with templates for getting started for newbies) and Gimp has to be mentioned because it just keeps getting better and there is even a mod available so it lays out and menues more like Photoshop. There are way too many top notch development tools to mention. Basically if there's even an imagined problem, somebody has built a shortcut app or at least a script to handle it. Or, if you learn how, you can build or modify Open Source ad infinitum.
-Found adjusting mouse a lot harder than in Windows... well, actually the mouse part was easy, but getting the trackpad to work the way I wanted was a nightmare
There are so many hidden applications in Linux I'm pretty sure you can find one that is a reasonable parallel for adjusting your mouse. Granted, some of the deeper and more sensitive stuff is best done in the xconfig file, but there are gui's out there for all the tab key impaired.
<-Looks sorta "cheap" (well, that goes for GNOME only, KDE is awesome!)
BTW I think you mean by defaults. There are some amazing websites out there with screenshots of just jaw-dropping desktops made out of window managers you just won't believe. I've seen guys take Blackbox and somehow mix applets, icons, and menues from WindowMaker, Enlightenment, and KDE that will just stun you both in beauty and function. That is the ultimate value and challenge of Linux - If you can imagine it, likely you can make it happen. It's all in learning how and there is lots of help out there. Forums like this one, but more specific to your distro and especially IRC channels can grow you really fast.